Saturday, August 16, 2008

An oldie but a goodie from The Onion.

A few select quotes:

  • Padalka said he was startled to find the stowaway nesting in the centrifuge accomodation module and Fincke said that the mischievous animal scurried underfoot as he was replacing a failed remote power controller module on a recent spacewalk and knocked him into a weightless spin.

  • When Padalka opened his locker last week and found an orbiting thundercloud of rumpled wrappers in place of his private supply of Snickers bars, Fincke laughed so hard he spit out the pouch of water he'd been drinking. However, Fincke was not the one laughing when he spotted the playful creature running off wearing his spare Orlan-M spacesuit helmet. But both astronauts could enjoy seeing the bewildered raccoon scrambling to keep up with the zero-gravity treadmill, after having apparently triggered its "quick-start" switch.
    "You have to give it to the little guy, he's persistent," said Fincke, who, while calibrating the ISS telescope last week, had a rare opportunity to view the raccoon up close, when its masked, bewhiskered face stared back at him through the telescope's other end.

  • Although NASA has been unable to determine how the animal got on board, lab analysis of the beast's droppings suggests that it's the same raccoon that caused hell and tarnation on the ISS during Expedition 7 in 2003. While none of the previous crew's members would admit to feeding the raccoon—which would explain its return—many expressed affection for the animal.
    "I call raccoon Kosmo-Rascal, after favorite children's book," Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko said. "If we caught him, I think we might have used him in benign experiment, maybe about training to do tricks. Is true nobody wants air filter clogged with nutshells, but nobody wants raccoon hurt, either. So?"

  • But we aboard ISS Expedition 9 haven't met a problem too big for us yet, and we'll work this raccoon thing out sooner or later. Hopefully, before the clever little dickens figures out how to work the airlocks."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The guy that interviewed Greg Chamitoff from KRI-TV in Corpus Christi was hands-down the worst interviewer I have ever heard.
The questions sucked, he sucked, and it's five minutes I'll never get back.
Poor Greg Chamitoff made a valiant effort to answer what amounted to ridiculous, repetitive questions, but even he couldn't save this doofus.

Can't Mission Control screen these questions before they're asked?

"Sorry, sir, that's a dumb question. You'll have to come up with something else or you won't be able to conduct the interview."

And another thing: if you get the honor of interviewing the ISS crew, you probably should do your research so you don't have to waste your time or theirs with questions like, "How long have you been up there?" and "Have you done a spacewalk yet?" and "Is this your first spaceflight?"
(NOTE: These are NOT the questions the guy from KRI asked. These questions are genius compared to his blather.)

Why would you waste one whole precious question on, "How long have you been up there?" when you could have spent 3 seconds looking at a NASA astronaut biography online to find out that information, thus giving you time to ask something like, "How much do y'all miss Garrett Reisman?" and "Do you have a message for Garrett Reisman back on earth?" and "Do you still find yourself thinking 'I think I'll float on down to the US side and see what Garrett Reisman is up to', only to be crushed when you remember that he's no longer on board?"

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Big Ben! Parliament!"

On August 11, 2008 at 07:42 Eastern Daylight Time, the Hubble Space Telescope's odometer reached 100,000 orbits of Earth.
That's 2.72 billion miles at 5 miles per second.

In honor of this milestone, the Hubble team released this dreamy commemorative image:

About the image, from the Hubble site:

In commemoration of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope completing its 100,000th orbit in its 18th year of exploration and discovery, scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., have aimed Hubble to take a snapshot of a dazzling region of celestial birth and renewal.

Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 (upper, left). The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170,000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies.

The three-dimensional-looking image reveals dramatic ridges and valleys of dust, serpent-head "pillars of creation," and gaseous filaments glowing fiercely under torrential ultraviolet radiation. The region is on the edge of a dark molecular cloud that is an incubator for the birth of new stars.

The high-energy radiation blazing out from clusters of hot young stars already born in NGC 2074 is sculpting the wall of the nebula by slowly eroding it away. Another young cluster may be hidden beneath a circle of brilliant blue gas at center, bottom.

In this approximately 100-light-year-wide fantasy-like landscape, dark towers of dust rise above a glowing wall of gases on the surface of the molecular cloud. The seahorse-shaped pillar at lower, right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our Sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

The region is in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy. It is a fascinating laboratory for observing star-formation regions and their evolution. Dwarf galaxies like the LMC are considered to be the primitive building blocks of larger galaxies.

This representative color image was taken on August 10, 2008, with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Red shows emission from sulfur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen.